Educating, Inspiring and Proclaiming during the COVID-19 outbreak

By Dr. Daryl Hagan, Superintendent of Schools
Special to The Message

The Catholic Schools Office utilizes a three-word tagline that describes the mission and vision for our 26 Catholic schools: Educate. Inspire. Proclaim. The past nine weeks, our students experienced a new school life reality due to the COVID-19 virus. While many things changed, their commitment to our core mission and values were lived out in new and meaningful ways.


Westside Catholic School held a virtual talent show. The most interesting act in the show was done by first-grader, Ross Reising. He chose to show off his math skills by reciting memorized square numbers up to 500+ and back down to one in under three minutes. This would be impressive for anyone, let alone a first-grader. Way to go, Ross!

Teacher Maria Janney’s high ability language arts students at St. John the Baptist School in Newburgh work on memorizing poems throughout the year. Eleni Scordalakes, a fifth-grader, was almost at the point of passing the first level of memorizing 20 poems when school went virtual. Mrs. Janney put this project aside; but rather than give up, Eleni asked if she could still finish earning her first level. She set up a time to Zoom with Mrs. Janney and, with her eyes covered, recited all 20 poems flawlessly. Impressive, Eleni!


The eighth-grade class at St. Joseph School in Vanderburgh County came together and made a video to thank teachers and give some highlights of their time as St. Joseph students. The video project was something they did on their own, then sent to principal Nathan Winstead for his blessing. Mr. Winstead is proud of the leadership that the eighth graders possess as a class. Eighth-grader Brylee Delano spearheaded the project. Thanks to Brylee and the eighth-grade class!

Reitz Memorial High School seniors Nate Alexander and Elizabeth Broshears facilitated the Mystery Guest lunches for the school community. Guest lunches have included Memorial alumni, including Don Mattingly and Sarah Pepper, who have offered their words of wisdom on everything from how to make the most of the Memorial experience to how they are surviving during this quarantine. Even more impactful was Nate’s and Elizabeth’s leadership to use the last Mystery Guest lunch as a prayer hour for the Popham family following the passing of Assistant Principal Lisa Popham. Elizabeth’s and Nate's efforts to find unique ways to unite the school community during this time apart have been phenomenal and are appreciated by many.

Corpus Christi School third-graders in teacher Abbigail Coudret’s class were accustomed to starting their school day with a joke. Once extended learning began, this fun ritual was not consistent. Andrew Ulrich, a student in the class, started providing a joke each day on his own. Every morning he posts a joke on the classroom page. His efforts are appreciated by all. Thanks, Andrew!


The eighth-grade class from Holy Trinity Catholic School in Dubois County was not able to lead the school's May Crowning Mass. Thankfully, Ava Uebelhor, who was selected to crown Mary this year, was able to honor the Queen Mother on behalf of Holy Trinity. Thank you to Ava and her family for continuing the tradition and creating a video to share with the school community.

Fifth-graders from Flaget Elementary School in Vincennes were not going to let extended learning distract them from their tradition of recreating the Last Supper and Living Stations of the Cross. With the help of their teacher, students recorded their parts from home and created a video to share with others. Awesome job students!

What happens when you know that others are in need? You brainstorm ways to help! That is exactly what Reitz Memorial High School students Shaurya Jadhav (freshman) and Kyle Broeker (sophomore) found themselves doing during their quarantine. Individually, these young men fine-tuned their programming skills to put their 3D printers to good use, creating face shields and facemask extender clips for the Evansville medical community. Shaurya’s and Kyle's service to our community is an outstanding example of our faith in action!

I applaud the students for their good work and deeds, and I know there are many more stories just like those included in the article. Today (May 15) is the last instructional day for students. On behalf of the Diocese of Evansville, thank you for being students of faith and rising to the challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak. I look forward to the new school year in August, and I pray that we will be back in our school buildings celebrating our core values to educate, inspire and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!